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May 16, 2012 9:22 am

Overthinking It: Brett Lawrie Was Framed


Ben Lindbergh

Brett Lawrie was right to be upset about the two strikes that got him ejected on Tuesday, but framer extraordinaire Jose Molina had as much to do with the calls as umpire Bill Miller.

On Tuesday night, the Rays beat the Blue Jays 4-3. All of the scoring was over by the seventh, but the real action occurred in the bottom of the ninth, when Brett Lawrie was ejected by umpire Bill Miller after arguing balls and strikes, first with loud body language, then with loud words, and finally by transforming his helmet into flying suspension bait. Lawrie probably brushes his teeth more intensely than you’ve ever done anything, so you can only imagine what he looks like when he’s called out on borderline pitches in a close game against a division rival. Actually, that’s not true—imagining it isn’t the only thing you can do. You can also watch this video:

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May 28, 2010 9:17 am

Watch Your Head!


Mark Smith

It is time for Major League Baseball and the MLBPA to make the new "overstuffed" batting helmets by Rawlings mandatory.

With a crack and a thud, David Wright slammed into the Citi Field turf. He had just been struck in the head by a mid-90s Matt Cain fastball, and after a few frightening moments and an unsteady walk back to the dugout, the Mets' third baseman was taken to the hospital for treatment of a concussion. Three days earlier, on August 12, 2009, David Waldstein of the New York Times asked Wright about Rawlings’ new batting helmet, one that could protect a player’s head from a 100 mph fastball. Despite other players’ negative reactions that noted an increase in discomfort and a decrease in style, Wright responded, “If it provides more protection, then I’m all for it. I’m not worried about style or looking good out there. I’m worried about keeping my melon protected.” It was a somewhat surprising response given the other players’ reactions, but it is one that seemed sound and levelheaded. Wright, however, was not wearing that helmet when the fastball crashed into his skull.

Wright’s injury could have been prevented. The risks and dangers of being hit in the head by a pitch are well-known. The solution was well-publicized. Yet Major League Baseball—its players, coaches, teams, and commissioner—continually lag behind when it comes to safety concerns. Why is this? What causes baseball to ignore the safety of its players, especially when teams invest so heavily in them, when the risks and solutions are so readily apparent? To answer these questions, it is necessary to delve deeper into an understanding of ourselves, professional sports, and societal pressures.

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